Antonio Roberts - A Quest for Adventure and Answers
Antonio Roberts lives in northern Virginia with his family and most of his life has had a strong fascination with stories. While not writing fantasy or science fiction, he enjoys volunteering at his local church, playing guitar, and game mastering tabletop roleplaying games. As our Author of the Day, Roberts tells us all about his book, Vestige: Rise of the Pureblood.
Please give us a short introduction to what Vestige: Rise of the Pureblood is about.
Vestige: Rise of the Pureblood is a quest for adventure and answers. Sinopa, a seventeen-year-old changeling girl’s, life is turned upside down when her foster mother dies and becomes displaced. And to make matter’s worse, upon reaching the big city a string of murders occur overnight, and who else should be the person of interest but her.
Now she’s thrust into the criminal underground to prove her innocence. All the while there are seeds as to who Sinopa is and numerous hints at things to come. So again it’s much about discovering how to find the murderer as it is learning about the narrator.
What inspired you to write about a wrongfully-accused seventeen-year-old changeling?
I like underdog stories, and I’ve also always been a sucker for spies and stealth video games. This story has played off of that.
As far as her being seventeen, I wanted to make clear that despite her fangs, horns, and a tail, she’s just an average teenager. She’s not a trained assassin or heavyweight meathead. Most of the time she’s escaping by the skin of her teeth, and making it up as she goes. While she is special, don’t get me wrong. I can’t spoil it, but she could be anybody.
Tell us more about Sinopa. What makes her tick?
Well like I said, she’s very determined. What she lacks in strength and height, she makes up in wit and cunning. She’s also a bit closed off to some people. She’s had a difficult upbringing as a Changeling as being something so vastly different can be tough among other things. No spoilers. The gist is she’s been hurt, but she still tries to see the good in most people.
The story is told by Sinopa recalling the events of her past, so we also get glimpses of a more mature side to her as well. Aged Sinopa can be bias and gruff in some comical ways. Sarcasm is consistent throughout, but she’s very conversational despite being rough and tumble, very down to earth.
Where does your fascination with fantasy and sci-fi come from?
Growing up, I’ve almost always been enamored with stories, whether it be something as simple as bedtime stories to cartoons. But as far as fantasy and sci-fi, I’ve always been enraptured with the worlds, characters, and what-ifs. Like what if I could travel to Narnia. What if I could learn at Hogwarts, so mostly it’s imagining and daydreaming those scenarios.
Readers say that the story gripped them and kept their attention throughout. How did you pull this off?
One rule I tried to follow was ending every chapter with a tag or a tease into the next so you want to know more. It’s been something I’ve noticed and enjoyed from beta reading other authors, and I wanted to try it. I also sowed several foreboding hints for the series to come, so those who are paying attention will be rewarded.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I play guitar and run several engaging tabletop games for some friends in my spare time.
What is the hardest thing about being a writer?
This is a tough question. I have to say writing, as much it is a theater of the mind, it is also a battle of the psyche. Self-discipline and self-doubt have been the biggest opponents for me.
There have been times where not many people have supported me in this, and it’s been a struggle to write.
I wrote book one and two while working fulltime with an average of one thousand-two hundred word count, and that was no picnic. I’m not saying that to brag. It was difficult. But it goes to show you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Having friends and fellow writers back you up helps too.
Are there any books or writers that have influenced your work?
Ray Bradbury for one. During middle school, I’d grown to hate reading, and his writing inspired me. It made me say I want to write like that. C.S. Lewis, Bradbury, and Dickens are the big three.
Dickens and Lewis for how they play with story structure. I loved the idea for Great Expectations where the older Pip recalls his youth and was a huge inspiration for Sinopa. People said stories like that would never work today. They said they’re old and boring, but my readers proved otherwise. I enjoy playing with narration styles and think it’s underutilized today.
Besides that, I love cartoons for their comedy and wit. Also the what-ifs daydreams of some. There are so many possibilities for characters and personalities, and those are what stick with people most in my opinion. And reading from reviews, people love the wide range in my books.
I also love the Indiana Jones movies. They’re fun and timeless. They heavily inspired Sinopa making it out through wits, clutch victories, and pursuers always giving the chase.
Rise of the Pureblood has a sequel. Does that mean the first book ends on a cliffhanger? How do the books tie in with one another?
Not exactly. So not all questions get answered but the most important ones do. Mostly like who’s the murderer, what is Sinopa hiding, what happened to her at the goblin village, and who’s the pureblood in the title.
Book two seamlessly picks up where the last left off and continues exploring the unanswered questions of the use of magic, who are the factions working for, and what lies beneath the city.
Do you have any interesting writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
My rule was to write every day. Even if it is just a sentence or paragraph, it’s still progress. Most of the time just the habit is enough to get the juices flowing. Personally, I work best in the morning right out of bed, but sometimes I slip a bit in on my lunch break. Keeping a journal and spreadsheet for wordcount helps for discipline and motivation. The latter made writing feel like a video game where I racked up a new high score every day.
What are you working on right now?
I’m hard at work on book three and a middle-grade fantasy novel featuring a glow in the dark belly button gnome and a talking ostrich princess wizard.
The second book might need more explanation. I just really wanted to make something fun for kids to read in school. Somewhere along the way reading stopped being fun. Especially for us guys. I didn’t care for Ramona and Beezus or Junie B Jones, and it carried up from elementary to middle school.
So this is an issue I want to take a stab at. It’s not my forte, but I feel it’s important. Most people don’t come back to books as I did.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I have an author Facebook page as well as my website. At these, you can reach me the best. Goodreads and BookBub are also great options to see more of my stories. I also may or may not be starting a YouTube channel very soon. So be on the lookout. Links are below:
My website- https://theantonioroberts.com/
Amazon Author page- https://amazon.com/author/antonioroberts